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What is a Hand Trowel?

Trowels are used to smooth concrete.
Gardening tools, including a hand trowel.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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A hand trowel is a gardening tool which is designed for digging small holes, transplanting seedlings, planting bulbs, and performing similar tasks. Many gardeners find hand trowels immensely useful, and they are quite common in gardening sheds as a result. Any garden supply store will sell hand trowels, along with other handy tools, and they can sometimes be found in hardware stores as well.

The design of a hand trowel includes a sturdy handle and a scoop shaped blade, somewhat like a miniature shovel, except that the blade is longer and narrower, proportionally. This design makes a hand trowel ideally suited to working in the close quarters of flower beds, and for tasks like transplanting, handling seedlings, and placing bulbs. Some gardeners also like to use hand trowels for weeding, since the small, sharp blade can help to uproot stubborn weeds.

The term “trowel” is also used to refer to a flat bladed masonry tool which is used to smooth surfaces. These trowels are used with concrete and mortar to create a uniform texture before the wet material fully dries. They can also be used to create textured plasters, with careful manipulation of the blade. Flat bladed trowels can also be made with slightly pointed ends for various applications, especially archeology, where people want to be able to gently move earth without the risk of damaging a specimen.

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When purchasing a hand trowel, look for a sturdy specimen with a handle which feels good. You may want to avoid painted trowels, as the paint can flake off as the trowel is used, and stainless steel is a good choice of blade material, since it will not rust as the trowel is used or stored in damp environments. Many trowels also come with small holes in their handles so that they can be hung on pegs or nails for easy storage.

Since a trowel is such a basic gardening tool, it can be a useful gift for someone in a new home or for someone who is just learning to garden. In addition to a hand trowel, you may want to pick up a pair of gardening gloves, which protect the hands, and you may also want to consider a garden kneeler. Kneelers are pads which are designed to support the knees while people work, making gardening more comfortable. Some are also designed with legs, so that people can kneel without worrying about crushing plants.

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mabeT
Post 4

When I put up the ceramic tile in my kitchen, I actually used a hand trowel. Now, I’m not talking about a garden trowel, but a trowel to spread the paste with.

We had two different kinds. One had little jagged edges on one of the short sides and on one of the long sides. The other trowel-like thing actually had a rubbery kind of surface.

These things worked great when we were trying to get the glue on the wall. You used the straight edge sides of the complete metal one to goop the stuff on there with. Then you used the jagged edges of the hand trowel for wall texture. This created a better surface so that the tiles would stick more securely.

The little rubber trowel-thingy we used after we had hung the tile. Very nifty tools indeed!

Eviemae
Post 3

Every gardener knows that a good hand trowel is irreplaceable! They do everything – literally everything – that you need them to!

I come from a background where the only garden we had was a huge vegetable garden – far too big for using a hand trowel. So, when I first began my own flower bed as a young, newly married woman, I tried to use a big old shovel and hoe. Boy, did my husband get a kick out of that!

Luckily for me, his grandmother had been an avid gardener and he was able to help me choose the correct tools for my garden.

Now nine years later, my two kids have their very own little trowels and things that they use. There are some awesome varieties with favorite cartoon characters available, but we went with a little bit cheaper sets at our local Dollar Tree store.

Whenever they have their own families, they will know what garden hand tools are!

letshearit
Post 2

When buying a hand trowel for the first time it pays to know what you are looking for. If you need other gardening tools such as a small rake or weeder, you can sometime find great combination tools that let you do of all the jobs with one gadget.

I like the hand trowels that have a longer handle and come with a long spike tool at the end of the handle. This is great for dislodging roots of unwanted plants and making small holes for planting seeds in.

Often these multi-purpose tools save you money in the long run, and they also save space. Plus, I find it's great not having to worry about forgetting things in the garage.

Sara007
Post 1

If you have children and are interested in teaching them a bit about nature and gardening, there are hand trowels, and other tools available in safe plastic version.

Most hand trowels are actually quite sharp, so I wouldn't recommend letting a young child use them in case they get cut. A good idea when choosing a set of plastic garden tools for your young one is to let them come with you to the gardening supply store. Letting them choose their own set can be fun and helps them get involved. At this time, you could also choose some plants to grow together.

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